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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
It doesn't matter whether you're building a skyscraper or building an InDesign document, either way you need tools to do the work and you can find all of InDesign's tools in the Tool panel, here along the left edge of the screen. Let's go ahead and take a quick tour of our Tool panel and its tools, so that you'll be prepared to use them in the upcoming chapters. The first thing I want to point out is that the Tool panel is docked along the left edge of the screen, but you can pull it out and put it anywhere you want. To do that simply grab its title bar out and place it someplace else on the page.
You'll see that it is a truly floating panel here, and the cool thing about this is we can change its orientation as well. Right now it's set up to a single column, but if I click this little double arrow it changes to a single row instead. Some people like that, because it matches the Control panel above better. You can kind of nudge that up to be right underneath the Control panel. If I click on the double arrows again, it becomes another configuration, two columns. Some people like this. It takes up more screen real estate, but you know, some people think it's a more pleasing layout. In these movies though, I'm going to leave it set to a single column by clicking on that double arrow one more time.
But I'm not going dock it into the left edge of the screen. I'm going to show you what I do on my personal system, because I just find it really efficient. I'm going to move it over until it gets to the right near the edge of the screen, and you'll see that it looks like its going to dock, but I'm going to force it not to dock there by holding on the Command or the Control key. This way its snaps to the edge, but does not dock. Now why would I want to do that? Well I like doing it that way, because I want to dock panels above it. And there's no way to dock a panel above or below the Tool panel when the Tool panel is docked there.
It's just a limitation in InDesign. So I force this to snap to the left edge, but I don't dock it there. And then I open up some other panel that I usually use. For example, I really like Mini Bridge. Mini Bridge is something I'm going to be talking about in some detail in a later chapter, but for now let's just go ahead and say I love Mini Bridge. I like using it a lot. I want to have it around, and I want to dock it to the left edge of my page. So I brought it up and I resized it, and now I'm going to simply bring it over here to the edge until it docks. And then I'll click on the double arrow to minimize it, and I'll minimize the dock even more by dragging it to the left until all I have is the icon.
So again, this is the way I do it on my machine, you don't have to do it this way. I just think it's very efficient to have the Tool panel down below, and then have other docked panels above it, so I can click on them and get to them when I want. So I have some docked over on the left, some docked on the right. Okay, let's go ahead and talk about the Tool panel and its tools, which is of course, what we're supposed to be talking about in this movie. Now the Tool panel is broken down into a number of different categories, although it's not immediately obvious what those categories are The first four tools are selection and object manipulation tools.
So for example, the first tool is the black arrow. It's technically called the Selection tool, and that lets you select and manipulate whole objects. You can move objects around, select them to delete them, or whatever. That's what the Selection tool is for. The next tool down is the Direct Select tool. That lets you select individual points on a path or individual objects that are nested inside of others. It lets you do a direct selection, just what you want to point to. So that's the white arrow. The next tool down is the Page tool, and this lets you select an entire page.
Even better, it lets you resize that page or move it on the pasteboard. I'll be covering that in more detail later on in this title. Now the fourth tool is the Page Gap tool. That's kind of like the Selection tool, but in reverse. Instead of focusing on the objects on your page, it lets you focus on the gaps between the objects. And I've got a whole movie on that. That's a cool tool. That's a new feature in InDesign CS5. The next collection of tools are the Object Creation tools. So for example, the Type tool, that's T is the Type tool.
That lets you create type frames, or it lets you create type inside of a frame. So that's the first Type Creation tool. I do want to point out that there's this little tiny black triangle in the lower right corner. That is important. That means that there are more tools hiding underneath this tool. And the way you get to those is by clicking and holding for just a moment or two, and you get this popup menu, which shows you the other tools. In this case the hidden tool is the Type on a Path tool, and that lets you place type on a path. But it's hidden.
A lot of people don't realize that it's under there. So now you know. Now there's tools for creating lines or Bezier Paths. If we click and hold on this, you'll see that there's the Pen tool. This is just like Illustrator's Pen tool. There are also similar tools that allow you add points, delete points, convert Bezier points. I'll be covering all of those in later movies. I just wanted to let you know that they are there. There is the Pencil tool and then underneath that the Smooth and Erase tools. These are all for doing free- form drawing within InDesign. If you have a really steady hand you can do that.
Next there are Frame tools. These are tools that let you make frames that you can put pictures into, graphics or other objects inside of. And there are actually two sets of tools here. There is a rectangle frame, the ellipse frame, and the polygon frame, and then just immediately underneath it there are the Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, and the Polygon tool. So a lot of new InDesign users wonder what is the difference? Why should I use one or the other? And the difference is really this. There's no difference at all, they're just frames. But these ones that have x's in them, by default have no stroke or fill.
So they're just frames without any drawing to them themselves. While the ones underneath, these tools down here, by default have no fill, but they do have a stroke. So that's the one difference that you need to keep in mind. Other than that there's really no difference. Okay next group, after the object creation is the Object Manipulation tools. For example the Scissor tool lets you slice a path anywhere you want, like if you have a long path and you want to slice it in half, you could use that. The next one down is the Free Transform tool, this lets you rotate an object, or scale it, or shear it, or move it.
It's a great tool for doing all kinds of transformations, and in fact, if I click on that and hold for a moment, I can see that there are individual tools underneath here for rotating, scaling, and shearing, but I rarely use those. I typically just stick with the Free Transform tool. Then there's tools for adjusting the gradient within an object. If you have a gradient fill or a grading stroke, you can change that gradient with the Gradient tool or with the Gradient Feather tool. The Gradient Feather is a way to blend transparency, not to another color, but to actually blend to transparency.
So that's what that tool is all about. Now the next group is sort of miscellaneous, there's the Note tool. The Note tool lets you add annotations inside any kind of text frame. The Eyedropper tool lets you copy formatting from one object or one piece of text to another. That's kind of helpful. Underneath there, there is a Measurement tool, which lets you measure objects. These are all sort of miscellaneous. They're really helpful, but you're just not going to use those quite as often. And then finally we have the Hand tool and the Zoom tool, and we covered those in earlier movies.
The ability to pan around your page or to zoom in and out of your page. At the bottom of the Tool panel there are some controls for changing the fill or stroke of any object that you have selected on your page. And in fact, down here there's this little fly-out menu that lets you apply a color a gradient or none, just fully transparent to any object that you have selected. And finally at the very bottom we have the Screen Display Mode, which gives you some controls about how things look on screen. We've already talked about this a little bit; the Preview Mode, the Presentation Mode, and so on.
So that's the Tool panel, and all the tools that are in it. But to me the coolest part of the Tools panel is that you can use all these tools, even if you close it by going to the Window menu and choosing tools. How? Well, every tool and feature in the Tools panel has an equivalent keyboard shortcut, and in the next movie we'll not only explore those shortcuts, but even look at how to make your own.
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